PLANT

Labour shortages worse for smaller businesses: CFIB

Help Wanted report cites 296,000 job vacancies across Canada in Q4.


TORONTO — There were about 296,000 full and part-time job vacancies in the fourth quarter of 2013 according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’s (CFIB’s) Help Wanted report, and although the rate is virtually unchanged at 2.5% from the previous quarter, the brunt of the shortage falls to the smallest businesses.

Job vacancies in the quarterly report are defined as openings that remain unfilled for at least four months because business owners have been unable to find suitable employees.

“It’s not as simple as matching any unemployed Canadian with any job opening. Often, the people and the jobs are at opposite ends of the country,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s chief economist and vice-president. “And for highly specialized jobs, it becomes that much harder to find the people with the right skills and experience.”

The smallest businesses (between one and four employees) are hit hardest by the labour shortages, with a vacancy rate of 4.6%.

Manufacturing’s rate is unchanged at 29,000 vacancies or 2%.

CFIB says retail, hospitality and construction continue to have the most job openings, each with more than 35,000 nation-wide. Most sectors have not seen major changes over the last several quarters, with a slight increase in vacancies in the transportation sector offset by a slight downturn in oil and gas.

By region, the vacancy rate was highest in Saskatchewan and Alberta (3.7%). Newfoundland and Labrador (2.8%), Manitoba (2.7%) and BC (2.6%) were also above the national average. PEI and Nova Scotia continued to have the lowest rates (1.9%), followed by New Brunswick and Ontario (2.1%). Quebec’s job vacancy rate remained stable, right at the national average of 2.5%.

The report says in the past three years, the vacancy rate climbed from a low of 1.7% in late 2009 and early 2010, to 2.6% by the end of 2012. Prior to the recession, the rate of private sector job vacancies topped out at 2.9% through late 2007 and early 2008.

“The labour market doesn’t always excel at bringing workers and jobs together. Sometimes it needs a little help, and we look forward to seeing how training programs like the new Canada Job Grant will address this mismatch going forward,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly

Click here for the report.